President Barack Obama stopped by The View today, marking the first-ever appearance by a sitting Commander-in-Chief on a daytime talk show.
The subject matter was mostly light.
Obama did touch on some of his recent lows – prosecuting two wars, the BP oil slick, a misstep over a race flap – and the greatest indignity of all:
He wasn’t invited to Chelsea Clinton’s wedding.
“I was not invited,” Obama admitted when asked if he’d be attending Chelsea’s nuptials with Marc Mezvinsky in Rhinebeck, N.Y., this coming weekend.
Obama said he supported the Clintons’ decision to limit invites to guests who had a relationship with Chelsea, rather than including world leaders.
“I think Hillary and Bill properly want to keep this as a thing for Chelsea and her soon-to-be husband,” he said. “You don’t want two presidents.”
Obama later revealed that his pop culture knowledge is significant, but not without holes. “I’ve got to admit I don’t know who Snooki is,” he said.
“I knew Lindsay was in jail,” he added, referring to the jailing of Lindsay Lohan for failing to comply with probation terms of her DUI sentencing.
Asked about the recent scandal over the Oksana Grigorieva / Mel Gibson tapes, Obama replied: “I haven’t seen a Mel Gibson movie in a while.”
Obama does not use Twitter, but was a big fan of the iPod.
“I got Jay-Z on there, I’ve got Frank Sinatra. I’ve got Maria Callas on there,” he said of the MP3 player. “I do not have Justin Bieber on there.”
Slipping in polls of late, Obama may have decided on the light sit-down with the women of The View to reconnect with his female base.
He accomplished that, but did touch on some key issues.
“When you took office a lot of people thought we’d get beyond race, Do you think America is still racist,” asked Sherri Shepherd.
“I think what happened in that situation was a 24/7 media cycle that’s always looking for controversy generated a phony controversy. A lot of people overreacted, including people in my administration,” Obama said.
“When it comes to race let’s acknowledge that of course there is still tension out there, there is still discrimination, there is still inequality. But we’ve made progress and if each of us takes it upon ourselves to treat people with fairness.”
Anticipated fireworks from Elisabeth Hasselbeck did not materialize.
“We are in a state of chronic joblessness, yet you claim there are saved jobs, a standard not used before by any administration,” said Hasselbeck.
“It’s frustrating to hear that ‘saved-jobs’ boasting … How can you continue to say you’ve saved jobs when in reality people are losing jobs?”
The president explained the stimulus gave money to states that would have otherwise fired teachers, police officers and other public employees.
“It makes a difference if your job was one of the ones saved. States got hammered as a result of the financial crisis. If we had not provided immediate assistance to the states, they would have had to fire teachers, police, firefighters,” he said.
“This was not just a matter of jobs for those people but the services lost. We’re bouncing back, but not bouncing back as quickly as we need to.”
Asked by Barbara Walters about an increasingly deadly war in Afghanistan, the president reiterated his talking point that U.S. soldiers would be leaving Iraq this month and would begin drawing down from Afghanistan next summer.